How to Clean Hair Rollers?

A complete and detailed roller-cleaning guide

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on How to Clean Hair Rollers

Ladies do lots of hair styling procedures to look gorgeous, but we often forget how much effort and time (and patience!) it takes later to clean all those brushes, combs, hair styling tools, etc.

If you have ever made wavy curls with the help of hair rollers, you know perfectly well what we mean!

Since pulling those stray hairs one by one from each hair roller sounds and feels more like torture than a routine cleaning procedure, we suggest you opt for a few handy and simple life hacks that we have prepared today.

In this article, we will tell you how to clean hair rollers and in addition, you will learn how different types of them should be cleaned. And of course, you will get plenty of useful extra tips on cleaning that will allow you to maintain your hair styling tools correctly.

How Do You Clean Your Hair Rollers?

Most of us would shrug when we hear the words “to clean hair rollers”. And the reason for such reaction is obvious: people find it annoying and extremely boring to pull stray hairs from each hair roller one by one. The process seems endless and you finally simply get mad!

Whether you use hair rollers daily or just once in a while, it is anyway pretty hard not to notice the numerous hairs that get stuck in between their teeth!

That’s if you use velcro rollers. But even soft sponge rollers tend to collect stray hairs wrapped around them extremely fast!

However, buying a new bunch of rollers each time you need to do curls is also not a good idea.

Even though these styling tools are relatively inexpensive, this approach will sooner or later result in quite a big sum of money. So what shall you do then?

Simply learn how to clean them correctly! And don’t worry, this procedure can be way less stressful than you got used to. You just need to remember that there are several types of hair rollers that include:

  1. hot rollers
  2. Velcro plastic rollers
  3. sponge rollers

And each type should be cleaned in a slightly distinct manner. Otherwise, if you try to clean any of these types of hair rollers the same way, you can easily damage the styling tool! No worries, there is nothing difficult ahead of you.

The good news for you is that the basic principle of cleaning remains the same: you remove the hair from your rollers, wash the rollers, and then just let them dry. Voila! Your hair rollers can be used again!

Below, you can read about several cleaning methods. Each is suitable for a particular type of hair rollers, so you can easily shift between them, depending on what rollers you decide to use next time.

How Do You Clean Your Hair Rollers
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How to Clean Hot Rollers?

If your hair hot rollers are of the pronged variety, you will need to clean them the same way you would clean a standard hair brush. The sequence of actions is the following:

  • Using a small comb, pull out the hairs stuck in each curler (that might take you some time!)
  • Then cleanse each roller with a mild shampoo (it’s ok to wash them altogether)
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue and foam left

If you use ceramic hot rollers that have developed product built-up on their surface, it would be better and more efficient if you clean them with a bit of rubbing alcohol first. In fact, it is the same method you would use for cleaning a ceramic flat iron.

How to Clean Hot Rollers
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How to Clean Velcro Rollers?

Velcro rollers are hair rollers that have a plastic base and a velcro pad wrapped around them for keeping your locks in place.

In fact, this type of hair roller is pretty much similar to hot rollers.

The major distinction (except for the hot rollers using heat) is that velcro rollers typically have a better grip. This can make them more attractive and useful for those who have fine and/or straight hair.

EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Velcro Rollers - KayleyMelissaEVERYTHING You Need to Know About Velcro Rollers – KayleyMelissa

Velcro rollers should get a similar hair removal treatment that you use for your brushes:

  • Remove the hairs from each roller
  • Prepare a bath by filling a sink with warm water and a clarifying shampoo
  • Then follow with washing them

There is also an alternative approach that you can use. If washing your plastic velcro rollers is not an option, they can be treated like combs.

  • Remove hair from the velcro rollers
  • Soak your rollers in water with added shampoo
  • Follow with a vinegar solution to get rid of any excess dirt or oil

Velcro rollers are known for hair being tightly stuck on their surface between the bristles of the velcro pad. For pulling the hairs away, you can take a comb and move it through each roller.

If the hair is too tough to remove this way, try to use a pair of scissors to cut the hair on the roller, but be careful not to cut any bristles! The hair should be easy to remove like this.

Also, if these rollers are being used for quite a while, you may notice that there is a coat of build-up and gunk on their surface. In order to get rid of this stuff, we recommend you soak your velcro rollers in a solution made of water and shampoo and then rinse them thoroughly and dry.

Finally, here is an important warning for you! You might have heard that people recommend washing these plastic rollers in a washing machine and then tumble-drying them to clean, but we would not recommend you follow this advice!

First of all, washing velcro curlers in a washing machine will not remove hair from the rollers, which is the key purpose of cleaning them.

And in addition, when washing them along with the rest of the load you will get all the lint from your clothes right on the surface of the rollers instead! More extra work for you, right?

How to Clean Sponge Curls?

Sponge rollers are very easy to use, plus they are extremely lightweight and take little space.

It makes them irreplaceable when traveling, for example, since you can even toss them into your purse!

However, they do have a huge downside. These softies get dirty extremely fast! And when they are dirty, they look really gross…

Luckily, the cleaning procedure is pretty simple, even though it might take you some time to free each sponge roller from the hair that is wrapped around it. Here is what you shall do to clean your sponge hair curlers.

How to Clean Sponge Curls
IgorVetushko via VistaCreate

Remove the Hair From Each Roller

This is the very first thing you need to do before you proceed to the next cleaning steps. To clean your sponge rollers, simply remove all that extra hair that gets tangled around the sponge part.

If you have a lot of hair tightly wound around each roller (which is exactly what usually happens), try something to help you out. You can get a small pair of eyebrow scissors and simply cut all that hair off! Just be careful not to damage the soft spongy body of the roller.

Remove the Hair From Each Roller
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Remove the Plastic Parts

Sponge rollers often come with a plastic frame on each roller. This frame is used for keeping the strand tightly wrapped around the curler.

However, when cleaning your rollers, those plastic parts need to be removed and also washed if needed.

So after all the hair is removed, you should remove all the plastic parts. As a result, all that remains should be the sponge parts and plastic frames apart.

After you remove the plastic, you can wash the pile separately from the sponge parts by soaking them in soapy water and rinsing. However, if they are very dirty, you might want to do some scrubbing (a sponge or a brush will help you with that).

Remove the Plastic Parts
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Wash the Sponge Rollers

Now it is time to give your sponge rollers a good bath!

  • Get a sink filled with water
  • Add some clarifying shampoo to it. Make sure the product is completely dissolved in water.
  • Once you have a bubbly concoction in the sink, it is time to put all of the sponge rollers in!
  • After they are all in the sink, let them soak for a while and then you can just scrub them to remove the dirt

It may often happen that there is a couple of rollers in a pile that needs particular attention because of being extremely dirty. Should this happen to you as well, don’t hesitate to put some shampoo directly onto those dirty ones and give them a good scrub!

When you see that the rollers became cleaner and their colors are bright again, you can drain the sink. The rollers should be back to their nice bright colors now with no dark parts.

Now turn the water to cold and rinse out all of the remaining shampoo and foam. Rinse well since the spongy bodies of these rollers tend to hold foam very well!

Wash the Sponge Rollers
serezniy via VistaCreate

Dry Them

Now, your sponge hair rollers are all ready to dry. Squeeze out all of the excess water, and lay them out on a clean dry rag. Note that it may take your rollers up to several hours to dry!

Because of that, you may need to plan your cleaning procedure ahead of time.

It will allow you to have them all clean and dry, as well as ready to be used when you need them next time. Once they’re dry, the plastic can be put back in and they are all ready to use!

Now you know in detail how to wash hair rollers correctly so that they become clean again and you don’t damage them accidentally. And since you are now also aware of how each of the roller types should be cleaned, it will be easier for you to choose the appropriate cleaning routine for your rollers.

Dry Them
serezniy via VistaCreate

How Often Shall I Clean My Hair Rollers?

This is quite a common question that people ask when they face the issue of cleaning their hair rollers. As you already know, some of these hair styling tools are more delicate than others, being more prone to dirt and gunk buildup.

This is why there is no single answer to this question.

When it comes to keeping your hair rollers clean, remember the general rule of thumb: the frequency of the cleaning routine is determined by the frequency of use.

Simply speaking, if you use your hair rollers every week, they should be cleaned more often than the rollers that are only used on special occasions like Birthdays, holidays, parties, etc. that take place a couple of times per year.

This is why you can just keep an eye on your rollers and watch how soon they become dirty after you buy or wash them. Like that, you will be able to figure out the period of time they need for getting clean.

What Are the Dangers That Dirty Rollers Bring?

Is it safe to keep on using hair rollers if they are dirty? This question bothers quite many of us for sure. The answer to it is no. Using dirty hair rollers is not good for your mane for sure!


See, as your rollers get dirtier over time, they accumulate dirt, dust, as well as product and hair oils buildup on their surface.

If you don’t wash them and keep on using them instead, all that stuff will be transferred to your clean hair.

As a result, if you practice using the dirty rollers on a regular basis, sooner or later you may notice that your hair gets dirty faster than usual, or it has an oily residue that looks like grease.

This is why we recommend you develop a cleaning routine and wash your rollers systematically. It will allow you to keep your hair clean and healthy, and extend the lifespan of the styling tools as well.

What Are the Dangers That Dirty Rollers Bring
serezniy via VistaCreate

What Products Shall Not Be Used For Cleaning Your Hair Rollers?

As you already know, for cleaning hair rollers (no matter what type of them), you should opt for either a clarifying shampoo or a regular shampoo instead.

In certain cases, you might need to make use of additional products like vinegar in order to deal with the stubborn dirt on the surface of the roller.

However, there are certain products that should be avoided when cleaning hair rollers since they can cause damage to their surface.

  1. Bleaching products
  2. Harsh chemicals
  3. Cleaning products that contain acids

All of them can not only discolor your rollers, especially the foam curlers, but also they can damage their bodies.

Well, now you know how to maintain hair rollers, what products can help you out with that, and what solutions are better to be avoided.

In addition, we explained to you in detail how different types of this styling tool should be washed. With all that in mind, you will be able to keep your rollers clean and make them serve you much longer.

What Products Shall Not Be Used For Cleaning Your Hair Rollers
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Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Should I hairspray my rollers?

To ensure a strong set, spritz hairspray to sections of hair before wrapping them around a roller. And rollers work best on hair that's been blow-dried.

⭐How long do I leave sponge rollers in my hair?

Depending on the desired result, you may want to leave them for 10-15 minutes and up to 4-5 hours!

⭐Is it ok to sleep with hair rollers on overnight?

Some rollers can be used for that (e.g. foam rollers). But with the velcro rollers, you won’t be able to sleep since they’re too hard!

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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